Nagarik, 10 February 2020
Tilak Ram Nepali was among the 600 teachers who were killed or disappeared during the conflict. He was abducted on 10 March 2002, interrogated for 18 days in custody before the rebels pronounced a death sentence on him. But before he was killed, they asked him for his last wish.
Nepali said he would like to write a final letter to his family. He was allowed to do so, and wrote an eight-page letter dated 25 March 2002 at 9PM, bidding an emotional good bye to his family and friends. The pages were placed on his body after he was killed.
‘Dear Mina, on your lap is a part of my body, our son Jayendra. And in your womb is another baby who will be born in two months. It does not matter whether it is a boy or a girl, take care of it, protect the baby. Even if things get difficult, don’t lose hope.’
14 years after conflict, no closure in Nepal
Mina Nepali gave birth to a baby girl, Mamata, two months after her husband was executed by the Maoists. Mamata is now 18 years old and in Grade 11 at a school in the Rolpa district capital of Libang. She wanted to go to nursing school, but could not afford it. Her elder brother Jayendra wants to become a doctor, but he does not have a scholarship and medical school is too expensive.
In the letter that Tilak Ram Nepali wrote to this family and which was found on his body that night 18 years ago, he comes across as a completely apolitical person, and also laments his inability to provide adequately for his family.
The greatest regret for his widow Mina is not to have been able to afford medical and nursing school for their children. Like her husband, Mina was not involved in politics, and even now has little interest in it. There are many like Mamata and Jayendra who lost their parents and therefore cannot afford to study a subject of their choice.
All three layers of government have promised compensation, truth and justice to families of conflict victims like Tilak Ram Nepali, but his family has not got any help. The recently reconstituted Truth and Reconciliation Commission could provide relief, but it is led by political appointees, so there is not much hope for the Nepali family.
Read also: Rocky transition to justice, Editorial
EXCERPTS OF THE LAST LETTER:
This eight-page letter was found on Tilak Ram Nepali’s body after he was killed by the Maoists. In it he appears to be most worried about the welfare of his wife and son and a not-year-born baby. He wants the rest of the family to treat them well, and not to quarrel. He leaves instructions about property, debts and house. He tells his family where to find his will, and to act accordingly.
12 Baisakh 2058 (25 March 2002)
My Last Letter:
First of all, I would like to pay my deepest respects to my parents who gave birth to me. My blessings to my dearest sister, Durga, brother Shrawan, wife Mina and my son Jayendra who carries on my bloodline. Blessings and remembrances to you all.
Please listen to me, my father and mother, my sister Durga and brother Shrawan, and Mina who gave birth to my son Jayendra – this is my last letter to you. I have not been able to write a lot of things, these are the times we live in. Till the time I am writing this letter, I am still alive. I expected the interrogation to continue, yet …